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Aurora honors sixth-grade student battling cancer

It was a year ago that Aurora’s Ayala family was turned upside down.

That’s when 12-year-old Abigail Ayala, a sixth-grade student at Fred Rodgers Magnet Academy, was diagnosed with a Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor, an aggressive sarcoma.

The cancer diagnosis came after a week of trying to find out what was wrong with Abigail, according to her mother, Sandra Ayala.

“Hearing those words that my daughter had cancer was the worst nightmare,” she said. “But here she is resilient. We’re very proud of her. She’s pushed through a lot and has given us strength.”

Honoring Abigail Ayala, and recognizing World Cancer Day this month, Mayor Richard Irvin and the city of Aurora recognized the sixth-grader with a Mayor’s Award of Valor.

Abigail has spent the last year battling cancer, undergoing major surgery to remove 95% of the tumor. She is currently completing her 18th and final round of chemotherapy before beginning radiation, which will target the other 5% of the cancerous tumor now left in her pelvis area.

During the Aurora City Council Committee of the Whole meeting on Feb. 6, Irvin presented Abigail with her award and bags of special gifts and games she can play along with her siblings during her upcoming radiation treatments.

“Promise me one thing,” Irvin said. “Let us know when you get your final cancer-free notice so the whole community can celebrate with you.”

slord@tribpub.com